Dutch term – Vondeling

Marriage record of Johan Jacob Tanto and Johanna Frederiks, Enkhuizen, 23 March 1817

A vondeling is a foundling, an abandoned child whose parents are unknown. It was rare for children to be abandoned. Most cases where children were abandoned took place in the city, not in the countryside. Most abandoned children were raised in orphanages or were placed in a home while the city poor relief paid for their … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Hooimaand

July. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Hooimaand (literally: hay month) is the old word for July. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Neef en Nicht

Group of cousins, all grandchildren of Cornelis Trouw and Maria Gommeren

A neef is a male relative: either a first cousin or a nephew. A nicht is a female relative: either a first cousin or a niece. Like the word 'cousin' in English, the words 'neef' and 'nicht' are sometimes used to describe a more distant relationship. Someone who is referred to as a 'neef,' may turn out to be the husband of a first cousin once … [Read more...]

Dutch term – familiewapen

Coat of arms of King Willem-Alexander

A familiewapen is a family crest or coat of arms. Most people in the Netherlands did not have a coat of arms. People who used them were usually members of the nobility or other members of the upper class. Working class families did not have a use for a crest. There are several heraldic databases and collections that will tell you whether a coat … [Read more...]

Quick tip: “levenloos” is not a first name

Dutch girls laying flowers on the graves of a temporary graveyard for killed Canadian soldiers. Edderwolde, The Netherlands, 1945.

In some trees, you will see the name 'Levenloos' as the first name. However, 'levenloos' means 'lifeless' and is used to indicate stillborn children. Read more about the term levenloos. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vader

Soldier and child on a bike

The Dutch word vader means 'father.' Finding fathers can be difficult if the parents weren't married. Some tips: Check the birth record to see if the margin has any notes about the child being recognized by a father later in life. This need not be the biological father but it can be a good clue. Check population registers (since 1850) to … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Pinksteren

Man on horse with a lance stabbing a ring

The word 'Pinksteren' is Dutch for Pentacost, a religious holiday. In the Netherlands is it celebrated on Pentacost Sunday and the following day. Pentacost Monday is an official holiday and most of the people in the country have the day off. Nowadays, many people take the opportunity to go to a music festival, go to the beach or attend some … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Zomermaand

June. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Zomermaand literally means "Summer month" and is the old word for June. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Memorie van Successie

Memorie van successie

A Memorie van Successie (literally: memorial of succession) is a death duties file. To determine the inheritance tax due after a person died, the heirs had to file a Memorie van Successie. Read more about Death Duties Files and how to use them for your research. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Molenaar

Dutch etching of a miller

A molenaar was a miller. There were different types of mills. Besides the classic Dutch wind-powered mill, there were also horse-drawn mills and water mills. Mills could be used for different purposes, the most common being grind grain or to drain water from low-lying fields. People could not just build a mill, that right was reserved for the … [Read more...]